In the early morning hours, a small crew of mostly women picked Syrah and Grenache for the Pax Wines label. The three acre vineyard sits on a steep slope, with a north to northeastern exposure. The vineyard was planted in the late 1990's by Steve and Glenda Castelli, and is farmed organically by the Castellis and their daughter and son-in-law Sheri and Rob Knight. The soils are unique to the area, dominated by bright orange Haire Clay which gets all over your boots as you walk the vineyard. The Syrah was picture-perfect this year, very healthy and naturally much more plentiful than last year's miniscule crop. The Syrah and Grenache bottlings from Castelli-Knight Ranch have many loyal fans, drawn to the vibrant aromatics and white pepper of the Syrah, to the spice, black pepper and cassis notes found in the tiny production Grenache. This is Pax Mahle's 16th straight vintage of working with the Syrah, since the first vintage bottled in 2001.